Sunday, August 02, 2015 02:24pm
North Adams, MA now: 81 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
LOG IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Beware the Russian Bear
By Bill Schmick On: 05:05PM / Thursday August 07, 2014

Twenty-thousand Russian troops are massing along the Ukraine border. Wednesday, in retaliation for another round of Western sanctions, Vladimir Putin imposed sanctions on certain U.S. and EU imports. And yet the markets barely registered the event. Are investors a bit too complacent?

Price action in the stock market would indicate that global investors believe both sides are bluffing. Putin is simply playing a game of chicken, pundits contend, betting Europe and the U.S. will blink first. They seem unperturbed that the hardware being deployed by the Russians on the Ukrainian front could roll back all the hard-won gains of the Ukrainian government over the past few weeks in a matter of hours.

As for Putin's economic trump card — an embargo of energy exports to Europe this winter — no one believes it will happen. And here's where financial people, especially free market types like those who reside on Wall Street, sometimes get it wrong. They believe that no one would shoot themselves in the economic foot simply for political gain.

Russia makes $1 billion a day from its natural gas and oil exports to the EU. The Russian economy is on the brink of recession after 15 years of strong growth driven by higher commodity prices. GDP is slowing from 0.9 percent in the first quarter to a forecasted 0.5 percent in the second. Inflation is rising, now 7 percent, and so is unemployment. Given the economy's weakened state, the sanctions imposed by the West are having a negative effect.

Its common knowledge that Europe depends upon Russia for a full third of its energy needs. It is also true that Russia's economic growth depends upon its energy exports, which accounts for over 50 percent of all exports. An embargo would hurt Russia far more than it would hurt Europe.

So, from a financial perspective, it would make no sense at all for Russia to shut off Europe's supply of energy this winter. The problem with that logic is that Putin, backed by a cadre of hardliners, does not necessarily believe that economic concerns should be their number one priority. Recent history proves this fact.

Back in the winter of 2006, during Russia's ongoing energy squabble with the Kiev government, they shut off gas supplies. Putin ordered another Ukrainian energy embargo in January, 2009. That one severely curtailed energy supplies throughout eighteen European countries. Some nations reported major drops or a complete cutoff of energy supplies at the time. The EUs distress was simply collateral damage from the Russian's point of view in its dispute with the Ukraine.

As for the argument that Putin would not dare to push too hard, give the state of his economy, investors have an extremely short memory. In the summer of 2008, the Russian economy was weakening as well, but it didn't stop Russian troops and tanks from over-running Georgia. Putin simply blamed the resulting economic weakness on the American financial crisis.

Today, things are different. The majority of Russians approve Putin's actions. During this crisis, unlike the 2009 gas embargo, the EU is not only supporting Ukraine, but also levying sanctions on Russia as well. Annexing the rest of the Ukraine, after getting away with swallowing up the Crimea, would be a logical next step from Putin's perspective.

Given all of the above, I am far less confident than the majority of investors that this conflict will go the way we expect.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Berkshire Force Takes First Loss at World Series
Volunteers Clean Up at North Adams' First Annual Appalachian Trail Day
Pittsfield Election: Nomination Deadline Passes
Aggie Fair Crowns 2015 Prince & Princess.
SteepleCats Win Regular Season Finale
Lanesborough 11U Bulldogs Fall in Regional Opener
First Responders Receive Tactical Training at Drury High School
Our Neighbors: The Teacher
Fall Foliage Festival Calling on All Grand Marshals
Berkshire Force 14s Open World Series With Two Wins

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (176)
Independent Investor (238)
Archives:
August 2015 (1)
August 2014 (6)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (8)
May 2015 (6)
April 2015 (8)
March 2015 (6)
February 2015 (7)
January 2015 (9)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (5)
Tags:
Debt Ceiling Japan Crisis Stocks Fed Euro Federal Reserve Banks Bailout Europe Economy Markets Selloff Pullback Interest Rates Deficit Recession Metals Jobs Stock Market Fiscal Cliff Taxes Currency Europe Oil Housing Greece Retirement Rally Commodities Energy Congress Stimulus Debt Election
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Month-End Musings
The Independent Investor: Supermarkets Evolve to Survive
The Independent Investor: Are You Ready for El Niņo
@theMarket: O Ye of Little Faith
The Independent Investor: When 'No' Means 'Yes'
@theMarket: Global Markets Weather a Wild Week
The Independent Investor: Same-Sex Marriage Good for Business
@the Market: Second Quarter Earnings on Deck
The Independent Investor: Tiny Houses Gain Appeal
@theMarket: From Russia With love


Blue Moon Rooftop Party
Partygoers danced under a blue moon atop Greylock Gardens...
2015 Adams Aggie Fair
The 41st annual Adams Agricultural Fair opens this weekend...
Blue Moon Rooftop Party
A sold-out crowd partied under a blue moon and atop...
Down Street Art and Polish...
Thursday was a big night in the Northern Berkshires with...
Park Street Fair (Hi-Jinks...
Park St. was closed off to traffic Monday night for the...
Gather-In Festival 2015
The annual Gather-In, a celebration of Pittsfield's...
'Romeo & Juliet' @ Pittsfield...
Free performances of 'Romeo & Juliet' run through Aug. 2 at...
LaFesta Baseball 2015
The LaFesta Baseball Exchange marked its 25th anniversary...
Bulldogs Win Cal Ripken State...
The Lanesborough Bulldogs used a big base-running play to...
Spark @ Naumkeag
Berkshire Creative held its July Spark mixer at the...
LL: Pittsfield vs Longmeadow
The 10- and 11-year-old Pittsfield National Little League...
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
St. Joseph's Church in Pittsfield hosted the annual Polish...
Pittsfield Babe Ruth WMass...
The Pittsfield Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars beat Holden...
Shire City Sessions July 2015
The inaugural Shire City Sessions drew a crowd to hear US...
3rd Thursday June 2015
Pittsfield's 3rd Thursday monthly street fair featured...
Cheshire Block Party
Cheshire's first Block Party featured live music, food,...
Blue Moon Rooftop Party
Partygoers danced under a blue moon atop Greylock Gardens...
2015 Adams Aggie Fair
The 41st annual Adams Agricultural Fair opens this weekend...
Blue Moon Rooftop Party
A sold-out crowd partied under a blue moon and atop...
Down Street Art and Polish...
Thursday was a big night in the Northern Berkshires with...
Park Street Fair (Hi-Jinks...
Park St. was closed off to traffic Monday night for the...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings |
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2012 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy| User Agreement